The global demand for fiber reinforced polymer composites (FRP) is expected to increase by 40 % to $105B by 2021. This demand will be driven in aerospace and automotive industries by requirements for lightweight, lower-cost carbon-fiber-based materials. Glass fibers will continue to represent over 90 % of the reinforcements required in composites for infrastructure, energy generation, and pipelines. Regardless of the commercial application space, future FRP materials will need to exhibit better performance for a longer time and exhibit multifunctional capabilities. Advanced composites provide a multifunctional advantage to any structure comprising fiber reinforced composite by increasing its strength, adding integrated health monitoring, and even controlling its failure properties.
The STG conducts and performs research on advanced hierarchical nanocomposites used for protection, infrastructure, and self-healing composite materials. These composites couple highly anisotropic materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, nanocellulose, and 2D platelets to create multifunctional materials with improved mechanical performance. These materials can significantly improve the current performance of these structural applications, but the measurement framework to understand the performance of the composites in real applications is lacking. This project establishes in situ monitoring of advanced manufacturing processes, structural health monitoring, and actuation in particulate and fiber composites. STG currently has projects in